Thursday, June 09, 2011

Day 14 - Maid Cafe and Yasukuni Shrine; polar opposites of Japanese culture

Trust me when I say Yua-chan is very very kawaii. Stupid crappy Galaxy S camera. Maybe I should have gotten a Nokia camera instead. I went in without asking for the English menu and used my extremely slow katakana skill to order. So slow that I ended up ordering the top items because it would take me too long to read the list.

Went for an omurice with picture combo. I could choose between something, a lighter or a buromido. I reread the katakana bu-ro-mi-do at least three times and thought it sounded familiar. Turns out bromide is a term for picture. If you google for bromide, its a chemical but I now remember that the term was used for a picture in Lunar. Hhhmm, need to download and play Lunar in Japanese on my psp.

Unfortunately, Yua-chan`s bromide was no longer in stock and I had to settle for Hina chan`s. On the wall of the cafe there is a picture of this maid called Riri/Lily? who looks absolutely hot. Come to think of it, I should have gotten her bromide! Aaaaaaggghhhh. What the fuck was I thinking????? Tempted to go back for more Yua or to see Riri. Actually an hour at the maid cafe cost me the same as an hour at a snack which was 3200 yen. Of course it could have been cheaper forgoing the picture option and going just for a drink. Hhhmm, I think if I go the second time, I`ll see who`s around before deciding how much money to spend. Oh yeah, they actually thought I was Japanese and that Michael was my fake name lol. I would like to say my Japanese has improved but most of the time its nodding my head and catching important words to get my answer. Ordinary Japanese speech is way too fast for me.

After that I go more browsing in Akiba. When you go there, make sure to check every nook and cranny because a lame looking card shop can hold many wonderful items upstairs. After that it was time to head off to Yasukani Shrine. I actually wanted to go straight after lunch but I forgot to bring the directions with me. Went back got my directions and got on the Chuo/Sobu line straight for Chiyoda. The picture above is the fishing thingie that you see in Jdoramas which can be seen from Chiyoda station.

Get out from the station and keep walking straight. It was just past 4pm and there were many many schoolgirls walking to the station. Only when I got to the shrine did I realised I should have taken lots of pictures. Oh well.

For those who don`t know, Yasukuni Shrine is like the host for all the souls of the dead who have fought and died in the service of Japan. Every time the Prime Minister of Japan goes to the shrine to honour the dead, China makes a big fuss about it. Why? Because the shrine also enshrines those WW2 criminals and people involved in things like the rape of Nanking.

Historial whiteouting aside, the Yasukuni Shrine area is absolutely beautiful.

I think that`s the temple where Japanese go to to pray to the souls of the dead. Sort of like how Chinese always have those ancestorial things in the homes.

The museum which is the most interesting part of this trip.

Why are there statues of a horse, fox and a woman with two kids?

WW2 plane from ground floor entrance of the museum. Unfortunately to access the other parts of the museum, a donation of 800 yen is required and I had 45 minutes till closing time at 5pm. How big can be exhibition be?

There were no camera signs everything in the main exhibition so I can`t show you how awesome it is. It is basically an exhibition of Japanese military history so you start of with samurai, Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration, Sino War, Russian war etc. At 4.45 I had only gone through 6 rooms and a cute employee told me that there were 22 rooms so I better hurry up.

The exhibits are amazing. You had real samurai swords and armour, personal artifacts from the royal family and lots of old stuff. Most of the stuff have English translations and for someone like me who only knows bits of pieces of Japanese history it was nice to see it in order. A lot of things sound very propaganda like but being raised in Malaysia, I`m used to it. Besides, after having seen how North Korea rewrites it history, nothing can shock me more.

Problem is I didn`t have time to take it in. Bloody tempted to go back tomorrow and take my slow time though everything. Even doing the 6 rooms in 30 minutes I wasn`t reading everything. The 800 yen though is a put off. Shouldn`t have gone today with less than an hour.

Some of the historical statements made in the exhibit made me go wtf and I am going to look some of it up after this post.

Despite concern over some historical stuff, I still think the museum is a must see. When I walked in and saw all those real samurai swords, it felt more than just a museum. It was looking at how Japan saw herself and her history.

I got so freaking excited when I saw the words Tokyo University. OMG, did I just stumble onto Todai? My heart sank when I saw the words `of Science` below it. Maybe I should look up where Todai actually is after this. I think the museum at Yasukuni is a must see.

Crowd at Shinjuku station. Or was it Ikebukuro?

1 comment:

MN said...

Looks like Shinjuku. Ikebukuro's got the seibu and parco stores and it's more underground.

Also about long time ago comment on jpopmusic/kenji/etc. I think Jet was the first to get kicked off due to some he said to someone and then kenji left with him. :) *nazukashii*